September 24th, 2012
08:30 PM ET
New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama's decision not hold any bilateral meetings with world leaders while in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly is a departure from the last incumbent president to run for re-election.
In 2004, while in an election fight with Sen. John Kerry, President George W. Bush held meetings with leaders from Iraq, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the president on Monday, saying he has held "extensive consultations with world leaders, including the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Yemen, Turkey, Libya."
"Those consultations will continue, not just with leaders in the region, but with leaders around the world. It is part of the job of being president that that be the case, and he will certainly encounter many leaders tonight in New York as well as tomorrow," Carney said.
By avoiding meetings with world leaders the president sidesteps any inadvertent news-making moments. And if Obama were to take a meeting with one ally, that would undoubtedly open the door to other requests. Therefore the president has left the one-on-ones to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will meet with the leaders from Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt among others.